December 2011 marked an important milestone for the Texas economy in its recovery from the Great Recession. Total employment in December finally surpassed peak employment achieved in August 2008 prior to the recession. Approximately 427,600 jobs were lost between peak employment in August of 2008 and when the state began adding jobs in December 2009. As of March of this year, Texas employment is 101% of the prior peak.
Although state employment is now 1% higher than before the recession, some industries are still lagging far behind employment levels attained in 2008. Employment in the Construction industry is just 84% of the peak level employment. The Information industry and both Durable and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing industries employment are still well below pre-recession employment levels. On the other side of the spectrum, Education and Health Services industry employment as well as Mining and Logging industry employment now exceed pre-recession employment by nearly 13%.
|Industry||2008 Peak Employment||Current Employment||% of Pre-Recession Employment|
|Educational and Health Services||1,290,200||1,454,600||112.7%|
|Mining and Logging||232,500||261,900||112.6%|
|Leisure and Hospitality||1,006,100||1,084,400||107.8%|
|Professional and Business Services||1,341,900||1,373,900||102.4%|
|Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities||442,600||442,200||99.9%|
|Manufacturing Non-Durable Goods||316,400||296,100||93.6%|
|Manufacturing Durable Goods||609,000||554,300||91.0%|
The final graph shows the path to job recovery for each industry. Each line tells an interesting story but here are some highlights as we see them:
- The Educational and Health Services industry saw no drop in overall employment, partially sustained by sufficient government funding for K-12 education during the recession and supported by the continuing demand for higher education and health services.
- Mining and Logging employment fell precipitously at the beginning of the recession but roared back as the Texas natural gas and oil industry was revitalized by new drilling techniques.
- Government employment shows a delayed response to the troubles in the greater economy and a small spike in employment related to the temporary employment of Census workers.
- Construction, Information and Non-Durable Manufacturing industry employment have fallen significantly from 2008 and these industries have failed to see any significant employment gain to this point. Although Durable Goods Manufacturing employment dropped significantly during the recession, this industry appears to be trending in the right direction.